Strategy & Consulting

Bringing offline experiences online: King’s Day 2021 and other virtual events

Written by Bill Marks on 26, Apth 2021

On April 27, the Dutch celebrate “Koningsdag.” Koningsdag, or “King’s Day” in English, is a public holiday in the Netherlands that marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander.

King’s Day is like a nationwide block party. People dress for the festivities in either orange, the color of the Dutch Royal Family, or in red, white and blue, the colors of the Dutch flag. The celebrations kick off the night before on King’s Day eve, and don’t stop for the next 24 hours.

King’s Day goes digital

Under normal circumstances, King’s Day is meant to be celebrated as loudly, as colorfully, and with as many people as possible. The holiday is known for flea markets, royal visits, special food and drinks, and open-air parties, fairs, and concerts. 

2020 marked the first fully-virtual King's Day, dubbed “Woningsdag” or “Home Day.” All public events were cancelled. Street markets were replaced with online marketplaces called “vrijmarkten,” while the traditional King’s Day music festivals happened online via livestream. 

This year, celebrations will again take place online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A lockdown and a night-time curfew are in effect. There will be no large gatherings, and while King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima are set to visit Eindhoven, the Royals will skip the traditional city tour.

Bringing the offline online

Among all the changes that we have had to adapt to over the past year, one of the most impactful is the transition of our experiences from in-person to digital. Events like conferences, interviews, and trade shows are now happening online, while rituals like brick-and-mortar shopping, attending school or church, and going to the gym have been completely disrupted. Consequently, digital experiences have more value than ever before.

Effectively bringing some of these offline experiences online can majorly contribute to your brand’s success and growth. You can generate great results in performance areas like brand recognition, customer retention, and, most importantly, customer engagement with memorable digital experiences.

It might be difficult to imagine what that would look like - let’s show you a few examples:

1. Bringing dragons to life in a film-meets-game virtual reality experience with Peugeot

Peugeot is a French automotive manufacturer. When they launched their 208 model, they wanted Peugeot fans to be able to discover their latest car in a fun and engaging way.

We created an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience derived from their successful television commercial which featured a flying red dragon. We united the imagery from the commercial with a VR experience and challenged viewers to “catch the dragon” through a mix of 360-degree images and our 3D virtual world. The VR experience gave potential customers the chance to take the Peugeot 208 for a spin and feel its drive, power, and energy. The experience accurately represented and strengthened Peugeot’s brand.

The campaign ultimately won multiple awards and generated a 61% increase in conversions.

2. Naturalis: virtually bringing nature’s greatest wonders to life

Naturalis is a museum of natural history and biodiversity research center in the Netherlands. They house one of the world’s largest natural history collections. When the physical part of the museum was closed for renovations, they saw an opportunity to highlight other areas of their business. They decided to launch an intriguing virtual exhibition.

We built an engaging, educational, and widely accessible platform that showcased Naturalis’s top 200 masterpieces. The captivating platform is built to appeal to a wide target audience from school students all the way to academic scientists. It educates the general public on natural history through an easy-to-navigate and engaging interface. 

As the museum’s first virtual exhibition, the platform supported Naturalis’s brand identity and mission to spread knowledge, and acted as a valuable extension of their website, Naturalis.nl.

3. Creating the go-to medium for sexual health with Soa Aids Nederland

Soa Aids Nederland is a government-funded NGO in the Netherlands that helps professionals and the general public to successfully prevent, detect, and treat HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

We helped build and launch an interactive and immersive VR experience that was geared towards educating teenagers about safe sex. We saw VR as the ideal medium to show teenagers the potential size of their sexual network and the consequences of not practicing safe sex. Each experience was personalized to each individual teen, who received tailored advice based on the information they provided.

The project won multiple awards and was so successful that it was integrated into the national sex education program for high schoolers in the Netherlands.

Moving your offline experiences online means integrating creativity and innovation into your digital strategy. Creativity will make your online experiences stand out and create experiences that deliver more value to your audience. 

Technology is one of the most effective ways to pull your audience in, and deliver an experience that they are thrilled to be a part of. But experiences don’t have to be high-tech to be effective. For example, building online or social media-based communities can substantially enhance your customer engagement. Just make sure whatever solution you choose supports the digital experiences you are trying to create.

Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Develop a digital strategy that aligns with your goals
  • Create clear and compelling messages and unique stories
  • Choose digital technology tools that convey your message and support the digital experience you want to create 
  • Engage your audience with design by utilizing tools like high-quality videos, animations, and graphics

Many brands are looking to replace or supplement their in-person experiences with digital ones. Luckily, there are countless ways to meet your audience’s needs and make your online experiences feel like the real deal. With a bit of creativity on your part and investment in the right tools, you can bridge the gap between offline and online. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! 

STORY WRITTEN BY
Bill Marks
Chief Technology Officer
Bill Marks
Chief Technology Officer

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